Sam Cover of Spokane Valley chef breaks down for readers some of the most impactful ways COVID-19 has affected the local food industry in Washington and beyond.
In the United States, the restaurant and food industries have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in many shutdowns without any projected relaunches in sight. Sam Cover Spokane Valley chef tells us that small businesses, farmers, and mom-and-pop shops are feeling its effects more prominently than others, although most chains have also experienced significant pressure.
“The epidemic has touched every individual who relies on the food industry for income, from chefs and managers to waiters, waitresses, and bar-backs,” says Sam Cover Spokane Valley chef. “Many restaurants are facing closures, but there are ways they can stay afloat with support from their community.”
COVID-19 has affected all levels of the food industry including the distribution of food and beverages across the country. Subsets of the industry such as dairy farmers have had to dump their supplies as they spoil before they can be purchased or delivered. And, unfortunately, many of these farmers are unable to repurpose their materials or else switch production to a new type of food to save money and resources. Meat processors also similarly have to slaughter animals and dispose of their meat simply because there isn’t a demand for it in restaurants that have closed.
“We learned right away that small businesses and eateries would be hit hardest and likely wouldn’t stay above water without intervention from the government,” says Sam Cover Spokane Valley chef. “Some projections go as far to say that two-thirds of small business restaurants may face tremendous difficulty opening or else may never open again.”
Many restaurants have relied on new take-out dining options and family pack menus to stay afloat during the crisis. Prices have been significantly reduced to draw more people in and hopefully funnel more money in tips to the workers on shift. Some restaurants have even begun to offer their extra produce for sale or to-go alcohol options to customers.
Sam Cover tells us that from here, it’s up to loyal customers and shoppers that will determine if these businesses will be around in the future.
“If you’ve really enjoyed a local restaurant in the past, and if they’re still selling food during the crisis, it’s important you support them when you can to help avoid closures,” says Sam Cover Spokane Valley chef. “During this time, it’s up to loyal, returning customers to ensure small businesses succeed.”